It is the largest and oldest still occupied castle in the world, covering 13 acres of land and receives more than one million visitors each year. As a royal residence, the castle was always intended to be a grand design. However, in the 1820s George IV instigated a makeover of the castle, almost double the height of its famous Round Tower.
In 1848 the state apartments were opened to the public by Queen Victoria. Ostentatiously decorated by Kings and Queens from more than five centuries past. The castle was damaged by a fire in the 1990s and was later restored at an enormous cost to the British public.
As with many castles, Windsor is no longer used for its original purpose (protecting those within from would-be invaders). Aside from visits from tourists, the castle is used as for ceremonial and state occasions such as the royal wedding. Visiting Windsor castle is an opportunity for you to enjoy a story of over 900 years of British royal history.
The castle is divided into three sections, known as wards. On the upper ward, you will see the state apartments on your tour. The middle ward is the site where fortifications once stood and the lower ward, where you will find St George's Chapel where worshippers are welcome to attend the services.
Queen Elizabeth II is official in residence at Windsor castle twice a year and she tends to spend her free private weekends here. Get your Windsor tour while she’s away, as the crowds will be excessive when she’s here!
Windsor castle hours are 10 am - 4.15 pm (Last entrance 90 minutes before closing).
You can and should, buy your Windsor castle tickets and tours online. Buying online means you won’t be waiting in line, which, in Summer months, in particular, can be an hour long.
The castles proximity to the city (23 miles from London to Windsor) makes it great for a day tour from London. Windsor Castle is close to Windsor and Eton Central Station, making it really easy to find. So easy in fact, that you can see the walls of the castle as you leave the station.
Visit Windsor castle in the winter months. In winter, there are little to no queues. An average visit is around 2 hours. Plus, walking the castle grounds is much more enjoyable when you haven’t had to wait in a queue for an hour!
As a visit only takes around 2 hours (usually give or take 30 minutes), it is great for a full day tour, heading from Central London on one of the Windsor castle tours.
Windsor tickets are around €21-€30 with discounts for students, retirees, disabled and under 5s. The Windsor castle entrance fee isn’t reduced by booking online, but you can skip the long queues by doing so.
An audio guide is included in the price of your admission. It's really helpful and comes in a variety of languages. There are also the more traditional tours from a guide who will take you from the entrance, through the rooms and grounds to give you all the information you could desire!
Windsor castle guided tours begin at Castle Hill. You head through St George’s gate, following the path around the Round Tower. While it is no longer used for defense, the tower in the grounds is aesthetically pleasing and houses the royal archives. The gardens themselves are beautiful; delightful green spaces with immaculately manicured lawns and a variety of flora.
You will visit St George’s Chapel, which began construction in 1475 and was completed in 1528 by under the tutelage of the infamous Henry VIII. This long-dead monarch is actually buried under the chapel along with nine others. Little tit-bits like this enhance your visit to the castle and help you to understand a little more about the place. Although, in such beautiful grounds and interesting rooms, it is totally understandable if you want to explore at your own pace.